[A Wicked Plague] Chapter 1, Scene 1

edited January 2008 in In-Game
Peasants and merchants wander the streets; cautious and fearful, for reports of a new plague have been circulating.

In the back cell MAHDI SHIRAZI, a caught burglar, sits, shivering and pallid.
ELOS ANAMED, an unseen spirit, hovers in the hall looking at Mahdi through the bars, listening to the conversations throughout the building.

JESPER, the executioner, sits at a desk. Judge IORRIS stands in front of him. Constable Radas sits in a back office. Several guards mill about. KITSUNE, the victim of a burglary, enters the building and approaches Jesper.

“Judge, when are you holding the trial?” Kitsune stood behind the judge. Her long flowing dress, its purple and red pattern wrapped loosely around her body.

“There will be no trial. This burglar has the plague, and I must study it,” said the judge not taking his eye off of the executioner. “That means no execution. We let it take its course.” He turned to face Kitsune. He wore a black, somber robes, which had hints of wig powder on its shoulders. "We let her die, then store her corpse at the wayhouse. We cannot risk exposing her to the public during a trial."

“Jesper, do you agree with the Judge? Are you happy to let justice slip aside for this man’s curiosity?”


  • edited January 2008
    Mahdi Shirazi has ever been more 'striking' than beautiful, and her present tribulations leave her with even a rougher edge than usual. Hunched on the bench that serves as her table and bed, she shivers constantly, her tightly-braided hair falling to curtain her face. What skin is visible - usually a darker, richer brown than is common in these parts - is ashy and moist, periodically breaking out into goose-bumps.

    But her ears still have their sharpness, once renowned in the district of Rasht (until that unfortunate incident with the noodles), and she has enough breath in her to raise her voice and offer boasts. This, of course, is an opportunity she never overlooks, no matter what her health ... so, loud enough to reach to the front room from her cell:

    "Hah! No-place in this old backwater can hold me for long! Better hurry and send me to the choppin' block ... otherwise, I'll be off soon as I'm rested up. I'll magic a hair into a pin, I'll pick your locks, and then I'll step into a shadow and be gone! You all didn't catch me! I just came along with ya, on account of having no accommodations for the night!"

    It's a good boast, but somewhat lessened in its effect by her inebriated slur (she was falling over drunk when the constabulary found her, which played a large part in the ease of her capture) and by the fit of wracking coughs that comes on the heels of her pronouncement.

    Still, she has a point ... it will take days, or longer, for her to succumb to the disease, and she's a famously slippery customer. That's proven by the fact that she is here, instead of languishing in a dungeon somewhere in Rasht, or Damqan, or Bandar Abbas, or even Semnan.

    Unless, of course, her infamy is just entirely exaggerated.
  • edited January 2008
    Jesper stands up to show respect, ignoring the hoarse shouts of the worthless wretch. "Honorable Sir, can you not hear her cough? The woman is a threat to the whole province just by breathing out the vapors! I am not a Judge," he pauses, leaving the 'yet' unsaid, "but surely there is something in the book of laws allowing us to take swift, sure action in such a case! You know my feelings on the matter, Sir." He fingers the tassel of his ceremonial blade significantly.

    "Mistress, they say you know a great many things. Couldn't a proper exorcist purify that house? It seems a pity to turn it into a house of the dead, and just on the entrance to town. Thing like that could get us a nasty reputation among the tradespeople."
  • The shade of Elos Anamed stands vigil over Mahdi, listening to the men discuss, casually, the fortunes of the two things in this world he yet cares for. Many years dead he may be, yet he has not forgotten the smell of ambition, and the scent hangs heavily over these men. Ambition, cruelty, selfishness. She is hardly better, Mahdi, but before Elos is willing to condemn her, he must give her the opportunity to redeem herself.

    After all, blood is blood, both in life and beyond.

    Now, it is just a matter of waiting for the opportune moment.
  • The Judge, after listening to the prisoner's words echo down the dreary prison halls, felt guilty. Maybe it was better to just let the woman die at the mercy of the man's blade. From what he heard, death of plague brought the pain of twenty deaths with it. Blisters that left scars, coughs that produced blood, and the feared nerve wracking leaving all its victims deaf and blind. Death was a welcome escape in all cases.

    But maybe this was a different plague. He had to know, for the sake of the village. He lowered his voice and replied to Jesper.

    "I'm glad you agree this plague threatens the whole province. But it is the plague that threatens, not this woman. Unless you are suggesting you lack the ability to keep her locked up and away from the people?"

    The Judge stepped back, toward the door. "We learn the nature of the plague, we save our village, it is that simple."

    Kitsune looked blankly at Jesper and his question of exorcism. With a shuffle of her neck she took a deep draw of breath in through her nose and out again. She looked directly at Elos, looking but not seeing.

    "I smell a spirit," she said. "Are you consorting with the dead again Jesper? You know that's against our laws. Maybe you should exorcise your own house before you talk of the wayhouse. You best arrange a trial, Jesper, or I'll let the Archpriest know you're dealing with the dead. He trusts me. He knows I can smell those foul spirits."
  • edited January 2008
    Jesper twirls his mustache tips in fury. "I create ghosts, Madam; I do not traffic in them. And my house is an honorable house, with nothing in the cellar but root vegetables." He draws closer and lowers his voice to a quiet hiss. "What would you have me do, I ask? You heard the judge. If it were up to me, I'd burn the wench and the house both, and good riddance. So what, by the Angel's name, do you really want from me?" That close to her, he can smell her perfume.
  • The Judge glowered at Jesper. "You shall not create another ghost if I have any say in it." With a swift movement he walked back to Constable Radas' office and slammed the door. Everyone knew Radas was dimwitted and easy to manipulate. With enough time the Judge would bend him to his will.

    Kitsune grabbed Jesper and led him. They, unwittingly and unaware, moved toward Elos. The Shade stood silently, just inches away from the two. She began to whisper.

    "That burglar in there must be exposed to all with a public trial. She must pay for what she tried to do to me. It will not happen unless the townspeople are outraged. They all love the wayhouse. It is the foundation of this very town. Should it burn down..." Kitsune paused, letting the implication sink in. "We just need to make sure she is held responsible."

    Kitsune looked closely at Jesper.

    "Think about it Jesper, you will meet justice out for myself and the town and avenge them for this horrible outrage. The Judge couldn't stop you then. You'd be the town hero. You'd even be saving them from the plague."
  • edited January 2008
    With the two closer to her cell, Mahdi looks up, the curtain of her braids swinging aside enough that she can peer at them, squinting as if the light is painful to her eyes. Seeing them conferring, she comments (her voice distinctly more raspy, after her bout of coughing):

    "Better watch that one, headsman. If people was creatures, she'd be a spider. [laughs, harshly] The kind that eats her partners, when she's done with them. Tell me, willya? What's she saying I stole from her? Can't be anything she missed too bad, seeing that she waited 'till I'd been in my cups to report it, eh?"


    She seems blissfully uncaring of whether or not the two actually care to hear from her - likely a combination of native insolence and the lubricating effects of her drinking.

    It's not really clear if she's just spouting off, or if she's deliberately trying to drive a wedge between Kitsune and the executioner ... either way, she succeeds, as her words remind Jesper to look past his immediate desires and notice just how pushy the lady's been. Connected with what Mahdi has just been implying, he is reminded that he'll be putting himself irretrievably in Kitsune's power, should he go along with what she suggests.

    On the other hand, Mahdi seems to imply that she has dirt on Kitsune. Maybe something that Jesper could use to ensure that the lady doesn't turn on him?
  • Across the thin veil separating the living from the dead, Elos Anamed growls in his throat. His eyes narrow and a palpable chill creeps into the constable's office, a sign of his deep, deep horror at what is being discussed here.

    Something must be done, here. This woman must be stopped.

    But he can not do it alone, he hasn't the expertiese. He will have to learn. But in the meanwhile, he knows who can do what must be done.

    Elos speeds off to the wayhouse, wherein Gathas prowls, praying that what he knows of hedge magic and medicine are enough to bind the foul creature to his will.
  • The thief's coarse words break through the spell Kitsune's cast on him, and he stiffens and pulls back from her. Slowly, with dignity, he arranges his white robes of office about him and straightens the colored tassels on his saber. "Madam, you presume too much. I am a sworn officer of the royal house, and my behavior must always be above reproach."

    With that, he takes her arm in a firm, not seductive manner, and walks her out the door. He needs to have a smoke and a think.
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